Business alliance to provide job training for Tung Chung residents
Alliance to provide Tung Chung residents with skills needed to improve job prospects
A business group that includes Hong Kong Disneyland, Asia World Expo and Ngong Ping 360 will organise job fairs and retraining for underemployed Tung Chung residents.
The move by the Lantau Economic Development Alliance came after a report by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service in October showed the Islands District has surpassed Yuen Long as the poorest of Hong Kong's 18 districts.
It found 22 per cent of residents of Lantau and other outlying islands earn less than the median household income, and most of them live in Tung Chung.
Alliance chairman Allen Ha said the problem could have resulted from a mismatch of career opportunities and job seekers in Tung Chung.
"Among employees of AsiaWorld Expo, less than 30 per cent live in Tung Chung," he said. The proportion for the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car was about a fifth, while that of Disneyland was less than a tenth.
The low percentages partly result from job applicants failing to fulfil basic requirements, or not being aware of the openings.
Many who apply to Disneyland are rejected as they do not speak Cantonese, Putonghua and English well, Andrew Kam Min-ho, managing director of the theme park and vice-chairman of the alliance, said. "It is a must and we have a Putonghua test for our staff members," he added.
Kam said retraining was needed to help people find jobs.
Ha said it was important to encourage those who are struggling to continue working instead of staying at home unemployed.
To help both businesses and job seekers, alliance members plan to organise recruitment activities and retraining programmes with community groups.
In the long run, the alliance - which consists of 10 Lantau-based companies and community groups - is calling on the government to set up a cross- departmental unit to look into Lantau's development.
After the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in 2016, there will be an influx of visitors from the Pearl River Delta that will support growth in commerce and tourism, it group believes.
To capture this opportunity, new mega projects should be launched in Lantau to retain tourists before they go to the overcrowded city centre, the alliance says, while transport links between existing attractions should also be improved.